Welcome everyone to today’s seminar on “CV and Interview Skills”.
Remember, your CV is probably the most important document you will ever write. It opens the door to your career!
And that job interview is probably the most important meeting you will ever attend. It's like stepping through that open door.
So let’s roll up our sleeves and get down to work, shall we?
First of all, I cannot possibly tell you everything you need to know about writing a resume in the time we have.
But let me tell you that there are dozens of great websites on the Internet. These will give you all the suggestions you need. If you look at the paper I gave you, you will see a list of the dozen most popular sites.
I can mention a couple of important points, however. One is that your CV or resume should not be too long.
A page is about right. Why?
HR departments do not have time to read long documents.
Too many people are sending too many CVs!
After all, the economic crisis of 2008 is still very much alive. Everyone needs a job now.
No matter how short you make that resume, though, you do not want to forget to tell HR how to contact your references. References are people who will give you a recommendation for a job.
That’s usually an ex-boss or a professor who knows you well. Do not use relatives! I don’t care how much your mum loves you.
Also, when you send that CV, be sure to include a typed cover letter.
A cover letter is a letter where you, basically, are asking for a job. It's like introducing yourself. Make it brief. The real information about you is on that CV of yours. And, please make sure the letter is typed!
It doesn’t matter if your handwriting is beautiful or not. Companies only read typed letters.
Another point about CVs is you should try to have an attractive layout. Maybe use different type fonts or colours to highlight information. Some people include a photo. You can find dozens of examples on the Internet.
Whatever layout you decide to use, however, avoid all spelling and grammar errors. I used to be an HR manager. If I saw a mistake, that CV went into the garbage.
Something you write in a CV is a description of your skills and experiences in an interesting way. Mention training, too. I mean these are what get you hired!
Do not just say, “I have lots of experience.” or “I have many skills.”
Tell that boss what you did, for what company, and when. Better, tell him how well you did it!
Don’t just say, “I sold houses.” Say, “I sold two million pounds worth of houses in my first year.”
That is, say something to make the person reading excited and curious.
Finally, speaking of CVs, it’s sad. But some people actually forget to provide a contact number.
That’s pretty silly. You wrote a great CV, you have HR dying to meet you... and they don’t know how. You forgot your phone number!
Oh sure, if you apply online, they have your e-mail address. But you just showed them you’re forgetful. Why are they going to want to talk to you after that?
Alright, moving on to the actual interview, I’ll go over what you need to know by the end of it, and what you can discuss and negotiate on later once it looks like you’ll be offered the job.
First, there’s working hours. It’s not that necessary to hammer out the hours off the bat, especially since it’s easy to come off as lazy when the first thing you bring up is how much you’re going to have to work.
You can also find out more about possible promotions later on. It is important, however, to get a feel for how much you’ll be paid.
You should make sure the salary range is commensurate with what you’re worth, and if you’re not, you can move on to better opportunities.
Being sure you’re going to make what you want to live on is much more important than issues like your pension - you’re all so young that your pension is not going to matter for quite a long time.
You should find out about what skills you must know for the job and what they’ll teach you.
In addition, if the company will provide training, you should find out how long the training period is and whether it is paid.
Beware of any jobs that want you to train for a long time without appropriate compensation.
Speaking of compensation, find out about holidays as well.
Do you get paid vacation time? Are you allowed to take personal days? Do you have to work on national holidays?
Once you work out these main issues, you can move on later to details like the location and expected attire and whatnot.
Wow, that’s a lot of information! Let’s take a break so you can think everything over and ask any questions you may have.
Don’t hesitate to come and see me if you need any clarification on all this stuff!